cutout of employee

Tracy never saw herself as a “career woman.” At 18, she joined corporate America working a filing job — the beginning of a 10 -year stint working in finance for the manufacturing industry.

However, when her mother opened a restaurant, Tracy packed up her things and moved to Tennessee, where she used her experience in accounting to help her mother set up the restaurant’s bookkeeping.

While working alongside her mother to open the restaurant, Tracy knew she needed a temporary job to keep her afloat until she figured out her next move. She landed a two-week assignment at Cummins and fell in love with the company’s culture. Tracy quickly realized she wanted to stay longer than two weeks and, for Cummins, the feeling was mutual. Two years into her journey at Cummins, Tracy began working in recruitment where she nurtured a love for recruiting diverse talent and delivering top-notch employee experiences to underrepresented communities. Now, 22 years later, she couldn’t be happier to celebrate her career with Cummins.

It’s the way Cummins embraces diversity in the fact that they have strong messaging to support the education of and resource groups available to every employee,”

says Tracy when asked what made the company the right place to start her career. “It’s also how you feel daily when you interact with your colleagues. There’s this underlying community based on everyone embracing and uplifting that element of diversity and inclusion.”

Tracy’s work ethic propelled her upward through Cummins’ ranks, with new opportunities coming to her naturally. Every time one came along that sounded fun and challenging, she never hesitated to take it on.

When leadership came to Tracy and asked if she would be interested in leading the company’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program, she immediately said yes. While she didn’t attend an HBCU herself, Tracy’s daughter received her master's degree from Tennessee State University, giving her first-hand knowledge of the power and value of partnering with these institutions.

Working with HBCU is nothing new at Cummins. However, the new HBCU initiative helmed by Tracy seeks to transform the company’s partnerships and usher in a new way of engaging younger talent.

“One of the most unique things about HBCUs is the family and community element,” says Tracy. “There are a lot of companies trying to get in with HBCUs, but we’ve already been there. We’re already partners of theirs, so having this dedicated program allows us to be intentional about those relationships.”

Tracy provides students with resources beyond the classroom and scholarships. She does her best to provide a safe space for students to seek guidance, and solutions for things like housing or even receive motherly advice on how to overcome homesickness.

Tracy and her team of volunteers take a multi-faceted approach to expand upon the work the campus recruitment teams are doing. One of their efforts is the Intern Program. Tracy seeks to bolster the intern experience for her cohorts of HBCU students by offering professional opportunities and social activities that allow the students to network with each other and learn about the industry. She wants them to develop personally, not just professionally. To facilitate this, Tracy provides what she calls Safe Space Sessions twice a month. These can range from motivational guest speakers to mental health meditation sessions.

During one all-intern visit to Cummins’ Columbus, Indiana, campus, Tracy decided to organize professional headshots for the members of her HBCU cohort. She recalls fondly how one first-generation student told her excitedly about how he bought a suit for the first time ever so he could “look the part” for this photo. “That moment made me realize that, yes, this program matters to me and matters to Cummins as a whole,” says Tracy. “That’s the real value of investing in programs like this.”

But Tracy’s work doesn’t end with internships. The HBCU Program also aims to ease the transition for new Cummins employees who are fresh out of college and are still in the early stages of their careers.

“We want to make sure we’re providing an environment where they can thrive, not just survive,” says Tracy. “By having this program, we can take a more holistic approach to our work by bringing together those elements of community, development and retention.”

Tracy puts these ideas into action by pairing new HBCU hires with another HBCU graduate that works at Cummins to help them adjust and settle into their new work environment. These mentors don’t just focus on success at work, though — they also help new hires with the more personal aspects of the transition.

“Some new employees come from environments that are entirely different from the corporate world and require a different approach to engagement so that any barriers to success are removed,” states Tracy. “So, we’re not just showing them how to do their job. We’re also helping them figure out how you move from a major city to a small town in some cases.”

Tracy’s approach has proven successful. Since developing the program, Cummins has seen a 38% increase in the recruitment of HBCU students. Not only that, but Tracy has also grown her team of volunteers to 90 in just one year. She attributes this growth to intentionality, saying, “I take the time to learn what their goals are so I can identify roles and responsibilities that are connected to their passions. As a result, we have people who are truly engaged because they want to be.”

The volunteers, she says, are often as impacted by the experience as the students. One guest speaker who presented to students reached out to Tracy after the session to thank her and say, “You made me feel so special,” to which Tracy replied, “You are special. You are a North Star providing representation for these students.”.

This effort to foster an environment of inclusion where every student, employee and volunteer feels heard sits at the heart of Tracy’s approach to work. “You have to listen and work as a team and collaborate,” she says. “It’s not about Tracy being right. It's about us getting it right.”

Tracy’s enthusiasm for diverse experiences and tackling new challenges extends outside of Cummins, where she spends her free time cooking and traveling. Her travel bug has taken her to almost all 50 states. She hopes to soon visit the mountains, jungles and seas of Peru. There, she will no doubt make an impact, because even on vacation, Tracy dedicates time to volunteering and outreach. On a recent trip to Jamaica, she organized a community event to provide food and school supplies for the locals.

Professionally, her biggest hope for the HBCU Program is to one day not need an HBCU Program. Instead, her work strives to weave diversity and inclusion even deeper into the Cummins fabric.

“Ultimately, diversity and inclusion, and the work we do in the HBCU Program, should be an unspoken part of who you are and the work we do together,” says Tracy. “We’ve got a way to go, but we’re making progress day by day, and that is what I’m most proud of about my work here at Cummins.”

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

employee spotlight

Antonio once heard the story of John F. Kennedy’s tour of NASA headquarters in 1962; during his visit, JFK encountered a janitor carrying a broom down the hallway. The President then casually asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and the janitor replied, “Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon.”

In his daily work as a Digital Product Manager for the Engine Business Unit at Cummins, this story speaks to Antonio, who understands how everyone contributes to the company’s strategic goals.

“We tend to focus on the trees and lose sight of the forest,” he says. “I am lucky that my job allows me to see the forest and connect my work to bigger goals.”

Antonio — who has been with Cummins for 14 years — spends his days solving problems that align with company initiatives and goals. 

“We identify a business need or opportunity, create a case, and then build a digital product with a clear roadmap,” he says. “It’s like going onto Shark Tank (the show). We do a market discovery, present our findings, and if it gets approved, we get the resources to develop the solution. Every day is like playing in a sandbox. We get our different tools out and say, here’s a problem; let’s solve it.” 

Antonio loves how collaborative, creative, and agile his team is. He attributes that creative energy to the variety of perspectives and functions of his team members. 

One of his business cases in the early stages of market discovery involves a government program to support school districts transitioning their bus fleets from diesel-based vehicles to electric. School districts and private fleet operators have committed to converting 10,000 diesel school buses to electric over the next five years, which would have a major impact on addressing climate change.

His team is trying to build a digital product to create the best user experience for the end users — the school districts. They do this by asking questions like:

  • What problem are we trying to solve? For whom? And why is important?
  • What are the challenges, needs, and pain points for the different types of user personas?
  • What kind of analytics do school districts need to support their decision-making?

His team makes sure that the Cummins product satisfies those needs.

In addition to accomplishing company goals, Antonio connects his work to personal goals, which are tied to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Antonio leads the Talent Development Committee for GOAL, the Latino employee resource group (ERG) at Cummins. He also attends Great Minds in STEM and the Society of Women Engineers conferences every year to scout talent for Cummins. He credits the Cummins culture of embracing diverse opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds for what makes it competitive for job seekers and a great workplace.

When scouting talents, Antonio sees himself in many young Latino applicants.

“Latinos are not well represented in technology,” he says. “The national average of Hispanic/Latinos in the tech industry in the US is 8%. At Cummins, we are working hard to get to that number. It’s rewarding to be part of the change.”

One of the reasons he loves scouting talent at conferences is because it allows him to talk to and learn from young people. “I listen and find out what motivates them. What are their interests? I try to bring that information back to Cummins and say, hey, this is what we need to do to continue attracting this kind of talent.”

I aspire to be a leader with a big platform to support the people joining Cummins after me,"

he says. Some of the programs he and his Talent Development Committee team are working on include:

  • Mentorship Program
    • This is Antonio’s baby. It has grown 100% in the last two years into 66 mentor-mentee one-on-one relationships. “That’s 132 people from 15 different states in the US, plus Colombia, Mexico, India, and the UK. Mentors and mentees meet on a regular basis,” he says. He points to the pandemic as a catalyst for this growth since it allowed colleagues to meet virtually and communicate with people whom they might not have been able to otherwise because of distance.
  • Lunch-and-Learns
    • GOAL members are surveyed on topics they’d like to learn more about, and senior leaders are invited to talk about the topic during lunch. The most recent lunch-and-learn covered the best practices to build a personal brand.
  • Speed Networking 
    • These meetings are designed for junior professionals to meet and talk to Cummins leaders for 30 minutes. Antonio’s team coaches the juniors on how to make the most of the meeting in such a short timeframe.
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) Workshops
    • Workshops are organized to help employees write a career statement, define objectives, and create a self-development plan.
  • Talent Development Program
    • This program tries to find a six-month project in the area of interest for employees who want to gain visibility, develop new skills, or change career functions. A project sponsor works with the employee and Antonio’s team facilitates that engagement.

When asked what his biggest remaining goal is, Antonio thinks of others first. He says he’d like to use the skills he’s learned at Cummins leading programs to partner with companies and governments — specifically in Mexico, where he is from. He’d love to form and support programs for children from disadvantaged households in his home country.

“I would like to use my network and connections and create a team to teach kids how to code to solve problems,” he says. “And then I’d love to ask companies like Cummins if they would offer small summer projects to these kids and give them opportunities in a corporate environment to automate a process, build a portal, or something. That would be a way for me to give back to the community and to society.”

By mentoring young professionals, Antonio is planting seeds for a future forest of strong, minority leaders.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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Let’s all join forces to honor and further Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a better future.

In the United States, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Day is observed annually on the third Monday of January and is also known as a National Day of Service to strengthen communities. MLK Day is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to create the “Beloved Community” of Dr. King’s dream.

Today, we remember Dr. King’s resiliency and peaceful leadership in the fight against injustice and inequality. While he believed his dream of creating the Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systematic change. His example is our call to action.

Former Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., J. Irwin Miller was an early and passionate advocate for diversity and took pride in recognizing that call to action. While also leading Cummins, Miller served as the first lay president of the National Council of Churches from 1960 to 1963. Under his leadership, the Council undertook several risky, especially at that point in history, civil rights initiatives and co-sponsored Dr. King's historic 1963 March on Washington. During Miller’s tenure, Cummins established six key corporate values: Corporate Responsibility, Integrity, Innovation, Delivering Superior Results, and, a true testament to what Cummins stands for today, Global Involvement and Diversity.

Together, we can strengthen ties to our communities and one another while we address critical issues that divide us. “The time is always right to do what is right,” a famous quote from Dr. King’s address in Washington.

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we pause to reflect on his life, legacy and innumerable lessons. We invite you to read and reflect on the piece below that was written and performed by Immanuel Umoren. 

MLK day video
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If it is true that we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams come to life, then, in the boardrooms, on our teams and in our communities, we are the manifestation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.

We are the torchbearers, who continue working towards a world with more justice and more equity. Not only for ourselves, but for all people everywhere; because our destinies are interwoven in the shared tapestry of our humanity. 

This is generational work, for generations present and those yet to be born. 

In this moment when division feels rampant, join us to remind the world that our differences make us stronger and that we go farther together. Join us to foster a culture that remains committed to giving everyone a fair chance to succeed. Join us to continue serving our communities.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream; we, have a mission.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Complete lego engine build in Atlanta

Some of the most in-demand, highest paying and fastest growing careers are in the STEM fields, however, according to the National Science Board, fewer than 50% of minorities are in the STEM labor force. 

As a global power technology leader, Cummins Inc. is working to increase the exposure of STEM careers to minorities and women across the world through various programs and initiatives. In fact, through the CARE initiative, the company held a special STEM activity at multiple sites in the U.S. during the month of November to celebrate National STEM Day.

CARE sponsored Lego engine builds for local high school students in Atlanta and Detroit, and has STEM activities scheduled for students in other CARE cities in 2023. The participating youth built Cummins engines out of Lego bricks; for many, this was their first exposure to the world of science, technology, engineering and math.

“To celebrate National STEM Day we wanted to introduce and support students on their STEM journey in our targeted CARE communities,” said Delilah Morgan, Cummins Director of External Diversity Initiatives. “The data is clear; minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and we know a large reason is lack of exposure to STEM careers. A core value of Cummins is diversity and inclusion, and our company believes our diversity of thought helps position us as a global technology leader. We believe investing in our youth today is a direct deposit into the planet’s future.” 

The international comparisons fueled discussion of U.S. education and workforce needs. The bipartisan congressional STEM Education Caucus noted: “Our knowledge-based economy is driven by constant innovation. The foundation of innovation lies in a dynamic, motivated and well-educated workforce equipped with STEM skills.”

National STEM Day began as a result of studies in the early 2000s revealed U.S. students were not achieving in the STEM disciplines at the same rates as students in other countries. The report predicted dire consequences if the U.S. could not compete in the global economy due to a poorly prepared workforce. Thus, educators focused on science, math, and technology research, on economic policy and on education. U.S. prosperity seemed to depend on it.

Growth in America’s STEM jobs in the first decade of the 21st century tripled the rate of growth in non-STEM jobs. However, racial and gender gaps remained a problem. Employers continue to struggle with the need for qualified STEM workers. 

James Wide - Cummins Inc

James Wide

James Wide is a copywriter and copy editor on the External Communications team at Cummins Inc. He joined the company in 2018. 

recruiters standing together

Cummins Inc. bestowed STAR AWARD by SHPE for changing lives of Hispanic students in STEM 

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is the nation’s largest association dedicated to fostering Hispanic leadership in the STEM field, and Cummins has been a strategic partner of this respected organization since 2007. SHPE National Convention 2022, with over 170 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees, took place early November in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the company’s participation held a strong presence with 40 Talent Ambassadors, Talent Acquisition Staff and Leadership in attendance, eagerly interacting with students and sharing insights about career aspirations. 

“This year’s convention was spectacular with 1,126 registered applications submitted by students aspiring to work at Cummins,” said Diego Souza, Executive Director, Cummins Chief Information Security and Executive Sponsor for Cummins SHPE Strategic Partnership. “The opportunity was meaningful for both the future of the students and Cummins.” The Cummins team met with over 800 applicants, held a productive workshop, participated in a panel discussion, and topped off the event with taking home SHPE’s STAR Award for Company of the Year.  

A potentially life-changing experience for attendees, students had the opportunity to submit applications for internships with companies that recognize their talent and want to build a future with them. SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and impact the world through STEM awareness, access support and development. Marry that with Cummins’ cultural belief of Powering Your Potential by having the flexibility to explore your passions while making an impact through meaningful work within your inclusive workforce, makes for a winning partnership in supporting future leaders aspiring to be innovators, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.  

Cummins is also represented on the SHPE Industry Partnership Council (IPC). Comprised of more than 45 organizations, including Fortune 500 companies and multiple government agencies committed to diversity and inclusion, IPC members align with the SHPE mission by supporting year-round programs, sharing industry perspective, providing resources and development tools, and meeting recruitment and retention strategy goals. Courtney McCoy, Cummins Global Talent Acquisition Leader, Early Careers Diversity, is currently the IPC Vice-Chair and will become the IPC Chair in 2023, underscoring the relevance Cummins’ role plays in this partnership. “It’s such an honor to be part of this organization and have the opportunity for our company to help shape the future of these bright students,” says McCoy.  

recruiters gathered around sign reading "Familia"

Action-packed gathering 

The Opening Ceremony was jointly sponsored by Cummins and Discover, kicking off with a keynote address by Rafael Torres, Executive Director, Cummins Engineering. A panel discussion took place on “The Leadership Amazing Race” where Judy Brunson, Vice President, Cummins Global Quality, Alex Savelli, Cummins Managing Director, Electrolyzer Business, and Rafael were panelists, followed by a workshop titled “The Pit Crew for Your Academic/Professional Race” managed by Kimberly Martinez Sequeda, Cummins Purchasing and Supply Continuity Senior Specialist, and Marian Salomon, Cummins Project Manager – Technical Sourcing Product Change Management. 

The Cummins team had the opportunity to do on-site interviews with 41 candidates and 31 offers made – a commendable 76% success rate!  A candidate engagement dinner also took place which included 83 candidates who interviewed, scheduled interviews or we wanted to get slated for interviews. And, professional headshots of candidates were even set-up to support career search activities for these aspiring professionals. 

McCoy accepted the STAR Award for Company of the Year on Cummins’ behalf. SHPE’s STAR Awards honor outstanding professionals and students for their dedication, commitment, and selfless efforts to advance Hispanics in STEM careers, recognizing company and government agencies for demonstrating significant, measureable and visible assistance to further SHPE’s programs as well as Hispanics in STEM. 

Paying it forward 

Cummins involvement with SHPE doesn’t stop there as we also support students with the Cummins for Hispanic Advancement in STEM InternSHPE program slated for the summer of 2023. Students can apply to qualify for a 10-12 week paid internship at Cummins, awarded to 10 community college students and 10 four-year institution students. After successful completion of the internship, they will receive $5,000 toward community college and $10,000 toward a four-year institution, with the scholarship renewable until graduation - a great resource in reaching the goal of increasing Hispanics in STEM fields and capturing Hispanic talent at the community college level to help in advancing to a four-year degree in STEM. 

Once scholarship winners are selected, each will receive ongoing coaching and mentorship from a Cummins mentor that starts before the internship. In addition, students will be able to participate in various career development activities to help prepare them for their internship and carry further to post-graduation careers. 

Attracting, developing and retaining a truly global workforce with the intent of bringing the right combination of perspectives, insights and skills to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow is how Cummins strives to support a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. And, Cummins partnership with SHPE helps us get there! 

If you are interested to know more about Cummins and available career opportunities, visit our careers site now.

Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

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